Heidi Heitkamp has a growing credibility gap when it comes to energy issues. Today the Fargo Forum picks up the story about Heitkamp’s #2 source of funds, the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, being engaged in anti-fracking activism of the sort that could shut down North Dakota’s oil boom.
Heitkamp is unapologetic about these funds, refusing to return them, even as she has touted herself as fracking-friendly at a meeting of North Dakota’s oil industry this week, and has been running ads in which she claims to have “stood up” to President Obama and Democrats on energy issues.
But there is more to Heitkamp’s duplicity about energy issues. Back in May, Heitkamp told a meeting of North Dakota’s Lignite Energy Council that she was against “regulation by litigation” (video here). Yet, regulation through litigation is exactly what law firms like Weitz & Luxenberg do.
Not only that, but I’m not sure how committed Heitkamp is to the idea that energy issues ought to be regulated locally. Not only has Heitkamp called for a “national energy policy” which, by its very definition, means more national regulations but back when North Dakota officials were fighting against an attempt by the EPA to take over regulation of regional haze in the state, Heitkamp didn’t speak up. Senator John Hoeven testified before the EPA hearing held here in North Dakota. Rep. Rick Berg spoke up. Governor Jack Dalrymple spoke up. Public Service Commissioner, and current US House candidate, Kevin Cramer was there and spoke out. But Heitkamp, who attended the meeting, sat silent.
Heitkamp, though, wasn’t a candidate for the Senate yet when that hearing took place. Much like her new-found disdain for her political party, Barack Obama and the Obamacare law, Heitkamp didn’t find her passion for local-control of energy issues until she started asking people for votes.